We thought we were coasting through the end of baby season and were gearing up for our Annual Open House. Then all eyes shifted to the Gulf and Hurricane Ike. It was with a heavy heart we cancelled the open house, but by that time no one really noticed because they were too busy with hurricane preparations.
Wildlife Rehab & Education is an affiliate of the Houston SPCA and they invited us next door since their facility runs on a huge generator during power outages. As soon as the hurricane was safely past, we began to receive injured and orphaned wildlife. That afternoon we received 100 squirrel babies. We had all four veterinarians and all the vet techs helping triage, administer fluids and feed. Many had fluid in their lungs from the storm.
Most of the other rehabilitators and volunteers who had planned to rotate in to help were flooded in or thwarted by roads that were impossible to travel. By Sunday, additional rehabilitators and volunteers were able to make it to the Wildlife Center to help with another 100 squirrels (Eastern Fox, Eastern Grays, and Flying Squirrels). Monday we received another 300 squirrels.
Tuesday saw us back at the Wildlife Center, volunteers poured in to help. Sixteen hour days, worrying about how to find gas to commute from a house that probably didn’t have power began to wear. Wednesday passed in a blur with over 100 more squirrels. We were able to keep up at that point but started worrying about the next several days.
Thursday and we were officially back in the swing of things. Well, sort of………we now had over 600 squirrels. By the end of the week we had outsourced many of the littlest guys to our permitted rehabbers who had power.
We also received injured wildlife from the storm. We had the Texas General Land Office Oiled Wildlife Response Trailer at the Center and washed several oiled Brown Pelicans, an Osprey and an opossum. We have also received several Laughing Gulls and Nighthawks with severe feather damage due to the hurricane force winds.
We were very fortunate to have a team of 5 personnel from Animal Humane Society, Minneapolis, Minnesota that arrived on scene to help with pet animals but they were assigned to help us with wildlife. We could not have done such a great job with the injured and sick babies if they were not here.
Thanks to many of you who sent Esbilac and other supplies. We did try to send supplies with our little orphans but many groups declined and said they could handle it!! Wildlife rehabilitators are a great group of people and we are honored to be associated with you. Thanks to Sheila Herrington from San Antonio, Texas who drove to Houston for a few days to help.